After the murder of former prime minister Shinzo Abe rekindled interest in the Unification Church, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida authorized a government investigation on Monday.
The church has come under fire for allegedly forcing its members to provide substantial sums of money, which is why the guy suspected of murdering Abe supposedly had a grudge against the organization.
The religion, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, was established by Sun Myung Moon in Korea, and its adherents are commonly referred to as “Moonies.”
The church has denied wrongdoing, but a slew of ex-members have criticized its methods, and information about the group’s connections to powerful politicians has helped Kishida’s favor ratings plummet.
The minister for education, culture, sports, science, and technology, Keiko Nagaoka, told reporters that Kishida “instructed me to utilize our right to study the Unification Church.”
I’ll start right away,” she declared.
Kishida is anticipated to address the issue later on Monday. Still, local media reported that the investigation would look at whether the church had compromised public welfare or engaged in behavior inconsistent with its standing as a religious organization.
The outcome of the inquiry might result in a religious corporation’s law dissolution order, which would result in the church losing its status as a tax-exempt religious organization but would not prevent it from continuing to function.
Local media reports that only two religious organizations in Japan have ever been given such a directive, one of which being the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which was responsible for the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway.
The other organization misled its members.
However, it is said that the government is reluctant to issue the Unification Church such an order because of worries about religious freedom.